THE founder of a charity that provides free transport to and from hospital for cancer patients visited Charles Hurst Nissan in Belfast to mark the halfway point of an epic challenge.
Brian Burnie, who set up Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, is doing a 7,000-mile coastal walk around Great Britain and Ireland – an endeavour that he started in March 2018 and will finish late next year.
To mark the halfway stage of his gruelling fundraising trek, he called into the dealership to thank staff in person for supporting him.
The Newcastle upon Tyne charity’s fleet of 30 vehicles, which have been exclusively provided by Charles Hurst parent company Lookers, have become a common sight, with their colourful outward appearance providing a less intimidating way to travel than more conventional ambulances.
Lookers agreed last year to provide Burnie and his team with a support vehicle for the challenge in the shape of a Nissan Navara, which has been towing a generator as well as carrying water, emergency equipment and first aid supplies to help him on his journey.
From its base in Gosforth, Daft as a Brush transports more than 40,000 patients a year with the help of 350 volunteers. The charity wants to set up regional hubs across Great Britain and Ireland.
Burnie, who has Parkinson’s disease, said: ‘We are now halfway through our challenge and it’s going fantastically well. It will have taken more than two years when I reach my final destination at The Baltic, Gateshead, in December 2020.
‘We hope to announce the creation of Daft As A Brush hubs nationwide by late 2020. However, I am also highlighting the transport issues faced by cancer patients both here in Northern Ireland and right across the UK.’
Charles Hurst Nissan franchise manager Justin Kinnear said: ‘Having heard about the great work that Brian and his team were doing in the north-east, we were delighted that they could visit us at the halfway point of their challenge.
‘Lookers has a long history of providing vehicles to this fantastic cause, all of which have played a big part in the north-east community. We sincerely hope the team can do the same for other parts of the UK and Ireland, and wish Brian the best of luck for the second half of the challenge.’
From left: Brian Burnie meets Charles Hurst sales operations manager Jeff McCartney and Justin Kinnear